Game Culture, Gaming How To's, Play

Gaming Terminology Primer: Introduction

So, recently my mother started checking out Game on Girl. She’s been gaming on PC since the good old days of Doom and Hexen. She still plays Diablo 2 from time to time, as well as various games on other platforms. She told me that she really liked my articles (thanks, Mom!), but that she didn’t always understand the jargon. So I thought it might be good to write a series of articles on gaming terminology, both for my mother (hi, Mom!) and anyone else who might be thrown off a bit by our use of jargon around here.

I’m primarily going to stick to PC gaming and what I consider to be the three most common genres in PC gaming because, well, that’s what I play. (By the way, PC stands for Personal Computer.) I’m going to do my best to hit the terms I consider to be important and basic, but if I miss something you were curious about, I’m certainly happy to take questions along the way. You can do that either by posting in the comments below, emailing me at, or via twitter @MarsUller.

Wherever possible I’m going to cross reference other articles and podcasts on Game on Girl that are related to what I am covering. Regina and Rhonda have several podcasts on this subject and it would be a shame not to utilize them.

So let’s get an early start, shall we? Here are the three most basic PC game genres, in my opinion, to start with. They have a lot more to them, but I’ll be covering them in more depth in the coming weeks.


Stands for Role Playing Game. This is a game type that is basically a pen and paper role playing game shipped off to your computer. Think Dungeons and Dragons and you’ve got the right idea, only your game master is a heartless bastard because it’s a machine.


At its most basic, a shooter is a game where you spend most of your time solving most of your problems with the available weaponry in whatever setting you happen to be in. While this might seem like that’s all there is to shooters, I will show you there’s more.


Because Risk just wasn’t enough. Yup, that’s right. Generally, a genre of pushing your little dudes around the map so you can become the overlord of wherever it is they are running around.

I know these definitions are a little vague, but I promise we’ll go a whole lot deeper. Next time, for instance, we are going to delve deeper into the depths of RPGs and I’ll teach you how to talk like a professional elf.


“Remember the Athenians.”

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